Anonymous User wrote: ↑
Mon Jun 07, 2021 6:09 pm
Not OP, but I am curious, what happens to Big Law Associates after 6 to 8th year? Assuming they don't make Partner or stay on as some sort of non-equity Partner/Counsel position. Is it true you can't find another Big Law post and just need to go back down to mid law? What kind of comp would that even look like?
They take them away to live on a farm...
In seriousness, I'd keep in mind the following things:
1) By the 6-8 year level, there's already been quite a bit of attrition at most firms. Going a full 8 years in biglaw is well above average. The majority of associates will have left for a smaller firm, in-house, or government (either because they no longer wanted to be in biglaw, or they were counseled out). It takes serious endurance to stick around 8 years in biglaw.
2) A lot of firms have a partnerhship track that's more like 10-12 years. Some firms (notably Kirkland) automatically give you a partner title after around year 6, but it's partnership in name only, and the real partnership decision would likely happen in the 10-12 year timeframe.
3) Firms have different policies for what to do about an associate after a certain period. Some use the "associate" title pretty much indefinitely (rare), more just give a "counsel" title to someone they don't want to make partner at that time but still see working for the firm long-term (they may still eventually make partner). At my old firm, it was extremely rare to go straight from associate to partner. Most spent at least two years as counsel before getting the partnership nod. Counsel is a bit of a weird catch-all title that can be anything from a semi-retired lawyer, to a law professor who works at the firm part time, to a lawyer with a niche practice that can't command full partner billing rates, to a senior associate gunning for partner, to a permanent associate.
4) It's less common than it used to be for the partnership year to be a definitive up or out event. 30 years ago, not making partner was essentially a judgment by the firm that you didn't have what it takes to be at the firm long-term and a signal it was time to move on. Today, it's often just that they can't make a good enough business case to make you partner at that specific time. Some firms no longer have a fixed number of years before you are "up" for partner.